The Journal Star's award-winning editorial page opines that it is concerned at how long it took for the public to learn Illinois' 3rd District Appellate Court ordered school shooter Dione Alexander freed.
But cases like Alexander's, or the one concerning former Peoria attorney Robert Becker, whose conviction on a charge of sexually assaulting a child was just thrown out for a second time by the same court, merit immediate release and scrutiny. Folks ought to be able to find out in short order who's receiving a get-out-of-jail-early card and who gets another shot in court - sometimes it's a public safety issue - even if those rulings don't set legal precedents. Unfortunately, unless a judge or a lawyer involved speaks up, that's a hit-or-miss proposition.
Sure, a reporter, blogger or curious citizen could call the court every day for months and ask whether a ruling had come down, but that's just not practical. Unlike the state Supreme Court, which puts out a list of its expected rulings and posts them online in a commendably prompt way, appellate courts don't offer advance notice.
First, I agree with the editorial and kudos for pointing this out. But I find the comment about bloggers and curious citizens calling the court on a daily basis to be illuminating.
Isn't that something beat reporters used to do? Back when a "beat reporter" was someone devoted to one beat, and wasn't whatever warm body was available when there was a story that HAD to be covered.
But yeah, it would surprise me if someone "curious citizen" decided to pick up the slack and started pestering the clerks at the appellate court.
So, I'd like to see more transparency out of the court. But this is Illinois, so that is NOT going to happen. Publishers aren't going to deploy the personnel, so it's gonna have to be citizen journalists to the rescue
Cross posted to Peoria Pundit